Monthly Archives: July 2013

Algebra with words, symbols or a computer

"If some one say: "You divide ten into two parts: multiply the one by itself; it will be equal to the other taken eighty-one times." Computation: You say, ten less thing, multiplied by itself, is a hundred plus a square less twenty things, and this is equal to eighty-one things. Separate the twenty things from […]

Negative attitudes about math

  No one is born hating math. Our attitudes about it, positive or negative, are a result of our culture, our interactions with math, our experiences with other people while doing math, and the messages we see daily about mathematics. What can we do as teachers, and as parents, to address negative stereotypes about mathematics?

Reflection on How to Learn Math: User interface matters

I’m participating in Dr. Jo Boaler’s course "How to learn mathematics" which started two days ago. Here are my observations so far: I like the structure of the ideas Dr. Boaler has presented so far. The "quizzes" we have done so far seem not to have right answers, and are more designed to make us […]

What evidence convinces teachers to change practices?

Research, by itself, rarely changes teacher practices. Presentations on why their practices should change rarely change teacher practices. Attending conferences rarely changes teacher practices (a teacher may adopt a few new things from a conference, but how often has a teacher come back from a conference and begun to teach in a completely new way?). […]

Ambiguity in mathematical notation

I’m reading Dylan Wiliam’s "Embedded Formative Assessment" book (which I highly recommend) and this paragraph jumped out at me: "To illustrate this, I often ask teachers to write 4x and 4½. I then ask them what the mathematical operation is between the 4 and the x, which most realize is multiplication. I then ask what […]

Students who are uninterested in math

Source: NCTM Smartbrief   It seems to me that "students who are uninterested" is a problem of pedagogy. If that is what is holding students back from learning mathematics, then you should make your lessons more interesting. "Students who are disruptive" seems like another way of phrasing the first problem, but having worked in a […]

Designing open-ended tasks – Part 1

Designing an interesting and open-ended task is relatively easy. The challenging part comes when you attempt to use the task and learn something as a teacher about what your students understand.   This graph represents the main issue that comes up when designing open-ended tasks for students to use; the more open-ended a task is, […]

130 years of climate change data

  Daniel Crawford is working on an interesting problem; how can we represent data about climate change in other ways. Each note he plays represents the average temperature for a year, with higher pitched notes representing higher temperatures. While I wouldn’t call this piece very musical, it is a very interesting and useful way to represent […]

Drawing The Koch Snowflake with Blockly

Google released Blockly, an open-source programming language accessible through the browser about a year ago, and very recently, they released a version of it that emulates the functionality of the Logo programming language. To test out how powerful the language is, I created a program to draw the Koch snowflake. I recommend trying this out yourself (It […]